What a week!
It was on a Sunday evening that I made my trip from London to beautiful Chelsea Parkfields, situated in the wilderness of the Wye Valley, for my week-long residential with the Leadership Trust. This experience would mark the start off my 12-month high-impact programme, Leadership in Management, which promises to guide individuals like me toward a heightened self-awareness and develops a greater understanding of one’s personal potential.
Into the unknown with the Leadership Trust
I have several colleagues who’ve previously completed the Leadership in Management course, but still, I set out knowing little more than “It’s a bit intense…”, and, “There are some outdoor activities so bring warm clothes!”
To say there was diversity in backgrounds and professions would be an understatement! Joining me were 17 other delegates, who’d made their way from all corners of the globe. We had representation from Singapore, Bahrain, France, Jersey and various locations across the United Kingdom. This diversity made the experience totally unique and rewarding. In just one week, we built connections that exceeded those many of us have built with colleagues over several years. And while this can be attributed to the intensity of the programme, it’s not often that adults are afforded the chance to develop authentic connections with people who – just days before – were unaware of each other’s existence.
Expert facilitation and feeding forward
Our cohort was divided into teams, each with its own dedicated facilitator whose purpose was to guide us throughout the week. The facilitators played a key role in the process. They asked probing questions that encouraged us to interrogate everything – our vulnerabilities, behaviours, and limiting beliefs that may be holding us back as we try to realise our potential.
Working from the principle of ‘feedforward’ – constructive feedback that rather promotes growth and continuous learning – our facilitators helped steer profound discussions amongst team members to help us reach, and in many cases exceed, our personal learning objectives.
Each day was packed full of experiential learning activities that simulated high-pressure challenges within a safe environment. We confronted innate fears, tested our ability to manage our team’s and our own performance in uncertainty, and applied dynamic thinking to overcome complex problems. Doing so offered us real-life opportunities to experiment, explore and to dig deep into the principles of effective leadership with our fellow team members.
Each activity was carefully curated to not only test our understanding of what leadership means, but also to help us reflect inwards; to develop our own approaches to leadership that maximise our individual strengths and qualities.
Activities were supplemented with informative sessions with expert professionals, who would introduce us to leadership models that we then applied in practice. From our own self-development to communication and building high-performance teams, we gained the knowledge we need to address the many challenges that leaders face every day. Managing conflict in the workplace, dealing with performance issues, providing constructive feedback, recognising and responding to your teams’ strengths and weaknesses, harnessing effective decision making, delegating – we experienced these scenarios and much more.
All the residential’s delegates were offered lifelong leadership that will support them both within the workplace and beyond.
Leadership: From humble lows to irrevocable highs!
My peers would agree that it’s hard to articulate the impact this residential course has on your personal growth and leadership development. The residential was challenging, and – without a doubt – an experience I’ll never forget.
By the end of the week, any humble lows were superseded with irrevocable highs, including everything from unwavering determination, unrestrained laughter, and of course a newfound confidence in our ability to lead with impact. I must use this opportunity to thank my team and all the other delegates who played a role in making this experience as enjoyable as it was, and to thank the facilitators and course director for providing us with this invaluable experience.
To all future delegates (especially those partaking in winter residentials), I have to echo the sentiments of previous alumni. “It’s a bit intense and there are some outdoor activities so [DEFINITELY] bring warm clothes!”, but I’d also like to add: Keep an open mind, and whole-heartedly give it your all. Because if you do, you will come away having had an experience that is not only unmatched, but that will genuinely help you grow as a person and leader.
Shared Value Manager, CTG